Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels
As an instructional technology coach at the elementary level in my district, I am placed in multiple schools. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this model. However, I do think that it does help to give me a wider vision about the strategic plan for our district. It also allows me the ability to compare my different schools and can help me guide each school in a different way. Since this indicator references two distinct levels, the district level and the school level. I want to talk about my how my work as a coach supports each level distinctly. There is likely carryover in that support, but separating it out might help give a clearer picture of the strategic plan of our district and how it is supported by an instructional technology coach.
District Level Support
Talking about a technology-infused strategic plan can be difficult in a large organization. I think it is difficult because if I talked to different leaders in our organization I don’t know if I would always get the same answer. I guess that is why I think visionary leadership is such a challenging trait to embody as I said in my introduction to ISTE-C 1. At the district level there has been some work done including work this year that shows high levels of buy-in to the plan that was rolled out by the technology department and my department. A consultant was hired and spoke to three departments about our use of technology and equity across our district. He was surprised to see how far along we were in the process of providing equitable access to technology, which showed that the work done by my department and the technology department may not even be known across the organization. The coming together of our departments and the consultant speaking with the superintendent likely helped to reorient much of the district toward our technology-infused strategic plan. However, coming together regularly, revisiting and repeating the vision is essential to communicating and implementing a consistent strategic plan across a large organization like a school district.
As a coach I also occasionally work with individual departments to help plan an implement change. Recently in collaboration with two colleagues I met with a group of music teachers to find a solution for transferring music to new laptops. In putting together a pilot for music transfer we ended up talking about some larger systems to put in place to help all music teachers have an equitable library of music. We decided that the district could start to manage a shared library of music and allow music teachers to access that music remotely.
Building Level Support
At the building level participating in leadership teams is one way that I can see how technology is infused into instruction and professional learning at the school level. I think it is important for coaches to be involved in leadership teams for this reason and others, but being a coach in multiple buildings does make doing so a challenge. Going into my second year as an instructional technology coach, I want to become involved in more leadership teams at additional buildings and also be present when a school is designing their School Improvement Plan (SIP). A SIP is something that is usually updated yearly and it shows how a school is focusing on improving teaching and learning for certain populations of students or in certain subject areas or both. In addition to those areas of focus a SIP also address the use of technology with students which is why it makes sense to have an instructional technology coach on the team when the plan is developed. I’m hopeful that participating in the development of SIP plans would help to align the district and school technology-infused strategic plan.
The work my district has done to adapt the SAMR scale as a way to evaluate student use of technology shows their commitment to document and promote transformational change across the district. The idea behind SAMR walk-throughs is great. It is a measurement of how students are using technology in the classroom and it gives data on a variety of levels, like grade level, school, or district. However, after a number of years of using that tool we are beginning to look for an eventual replacement. In my post Is SAMR Enough? Teacher Practice and Technology Integration I write about need to continually evaluate a tool to find one that is best for teachers, easy to understand and can help integrate technology into teaching. This shows how continual evaluation of strategic plans for technology integration and instruction is happening in our department. As coaches we want to continue to revisit the tools we are using to determine if they are still the right tools to use. In discussing and re-evaluating the tools we use to measure the integration of technology it is important for our department to partner with and reach out to other departments in order to effectively implement the district wide strategic plan for technology integration.
For more information see my complete post Is SAMR Enough? Teacher Practice and Technology Integration